UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

India, UK experts to collaborate on new virtual hub to distribute vaccines, says Raab

ANI | Updated: Dec 16, 2020 17:58 IST

New Delhi [India], December 16 (ANI): Experts from India and the United Kingdom will collaborate via a new virtual hub to distribute vaccines for Covid-19 and other deadly viruses, the visiting foreign secretary of the United Kingdom Dominic Raab said on Wednesday.
Raab called on Prime Minister Modi today to discuss India and the UK working together for good and launching the pioneering new vaccines hub, which will share the best practices for regulation and clinical trials, and further foster innovation, according to a press statement from the British High Commission in India.
The new hub will enable British and Indian experts to share knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals and get vaccines to people who need them most in a safe, secure and energy-efficient way, and will protect the UK and India by enhancing cooperation on the development and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
"This Serum Institute and Oxford University partnership demonstrates the UK-India relationship at its best: a vaccine developed in the UK and made in India; drawing our brightest minds together to save lives as a global force for good," he said.
The Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) is poised to make over a billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, which can be stored in normal refrigerator temperatures, making it easier and cheaper to produce, store and distribute around the world. Millions of doses made by SII will be distributed to the world's poorest people through the global COVAX initiative, in partnership with World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.
"A global pandemic requires a global solution. Scientific cooperation has made breakthroughs on coronavirus vaccines at record-breaking pace and the UK-India Vaccine Hub will now build on these innovations, to bring this crisis to an end and protect us all against future pandemics," said Raab.
According to the British High Commission, India supplies over 50 per cent of the world's vaccines and 25 per cent of the National Health Service's (NHS) generic drugs. A closer UK-India cooperation on medicines and vaccines approvals will ensure speedy access for the UK to Indian-produced pharmaceuticals and help safeguard future supplies to the NHS.
During his visit with PM Modi on Wednesday, the UK Foreign Secretary signalled his ambition for a closer UK-India relationship as part of a wider UK focus on partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region.
The leaders also spoke about a 10-year roadmap heralding a new era for the UK and India with an ambitious plan for an Enhanced Trade Partnership.
PM Modi termed the interaction with Raab as "excellent" adding that he looked forward to having Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend the Republic Day ceremony next year as the chief guest.
The British High Commission further informed that Raab also met Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and agreed to work together on mutual recognition of academic qualifications, starting with master's degrees, over the next year.
Raab also welcomed the signing of a new agreement between the University of Edinburgh and Gujarat to open a new biotechnology university in the state by July 2021, marking the first foreign university collaboration of its kind in India.
On Tuesday, he also met with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar where the two discussed opportunities in a post-Covid post-Brexit world for a stronger India-UK partnership. (ANI)